26 March 2009
Serious concern has arisen about the cardiovascular safety of selective cyclo-oxygenase-2 (COX-2) inhibitors. However, recent studies have shown that the cardiovascular risks of regular use of traditional analgesics also deserve attention. We investigated the use of traditional analgesics for their prediction of major coronary events during 16 years of follow-up.
A population sample of 8000 Finns aged 30 years and over was invited to a comprehensive health examination in 1978–1980; 7217 (90%) complied, and 4824 of these had no diagnosed cardiovascular disease. The participants filled in a questionnaire eliciting information on the use of analgesics. Record linkage to the National Hospital Discharge Register and the mortality register of the Central Statistical Office of Finland identified 266 major coronary events (myocardial infarctions or coronary deaths) by the end of 1994.
The risk of a major coronary event was significantly elevated among those reporting regular use of analgesics at baseline. Compared with nonusers and adjusted for known risk factors for coronary heart disease, the relative risk of an event during the whole follow-up period was 1.51 (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.08–2.10) among regular users of analgesics. The risk was as high as 5.27 (95% CI 2.13–13.11) during the first two years of the follow-up. Thereafter it leveled off.